Written by Chandni Patel
4th year Medical Student, Barts and the London, School of Medicine and Dentistry
Published: 31 May 2020
10 Top Tips for Revising during Lockdown
The pandemic has disrupted medical education across the globe and students are adapting to remote learning. As a medical student myself with upcoming exams, I can relate to the anxieties surrounding revision during COVID19. I therefore wanted to share some revision tips and resources that have worked well for myself and others. You’ll find hyperlinks to these resources throughout this article.
Tip #1 Plan your time
Medicine can feel overwhelming as the information available seems endless. It’s easy to become caught up in a topic, so plan your day. Try using to do lists and categorise your tasks according to urgency and importance. Have regular breaks. If you find yourself caught up in a topic, think about what is clinically relevant. Take a break and come back to it later.
Tip #2 Use spaced repetition
Keep a record of topics you revise using a spreadsheet and review the topic using active recall at specific intervals over time. There is plenty of evidence this improves long-term retention and knowledge recall, improving connections between concepts.
Tip: #3 Use active recall
Test yourself when learning and revising. Give it a try by using this brilliant online app Capsule. The Medical School Council, in partnership with Ocasta has sponsored access to Capsule, an online app. This is a great, convenient resource and has quizzes to test your understanding from clinical cases.
Have a go at using Anki or Quizlet, to make flashcards and test yourself. There are many question banks available, such as Passmed, Pastest, BMJ on examination and Quesmed, but be aware many of these are paid subscriptions. Geeky medics, Medisense and BMJ have free quizzes. Teach me series is a good resource for concise notes on a range of topics including anatomy, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and quick quizzes.
Becoming a Doctor are also creating a free question bank so keep an eye out for this!
Tip #3 Know your learning style
I personally learn best listening to information, using podcasts to revise. If I am reading an explanation for instance, I would use text-speech software inbuilt on my computer to keep focus. Visual learners may find infographics and diagrams more useful such as these by EM3.
Tip #4 Take part in an online seminar.
BecomingADr are running regular tutorials, for all students. If a stable internet connection is difficult for you, there is the option of re-watching the BecomingaDr tutorials by making an account on the website here
There are a number of other organisations offering online lectures including the Royal Colleges so do make a timetable and incorporate relevant ones for you! These lectures are good to add structure to your day – medical students are often used to having a routine!
Tip #5 Form virtual study groups or revise with a friend.
Revision can be more fun and engaging with other people! Teaching someone is a brilliant way to learn and teaching patients is a crucial skill. Discussing a clinical case with a friend and explaining your diagnostic process and management plan is brilliant for consolidating your learning and skills. This is one of the hardest parts of medicine and comes with experience. It’s also useful to practise handovers, as it is challenging to summarise a case in a concise way. Have a look at these great resources by EM3 and MindtheBleep.
Tip #6 Keep your revision varied
Try using different multimedia resources when revising, for example question banks, flashcards or online seminars.
Tip #7 Have a go at using the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is simple to use. You work in short, timed intervals (often 25 minutes long), which are spaced out by short breaks. There are great apps available to set timers, like Focus Keeper and Forest, which lets you plant trees as a reward for staying focused!
I prefer to do small chucks of multiple topics rather than spend a long time on a single topic, so I use Pomodoro technique to keep revision varied in the day and come back to a topic multiple times in short bursts.
Tip #8 Take advantage of free podcasts
Podcasts are a brilliant tool – it is easy and flexible to listen to if going for a walk or exercising. Zero to Finals summarises important conditions and Harrison’s Podclass, discusses key topics in internal medicine through clinical cases.
ICU rounds has useful podcasts on critical care, particularly relevant for COVID-19.
Tip #9 Take care of yourself
I can’t emphasise this enough. Revising on your own right now can be isolating so please reach out to us. Take regular breaks and make time for your hobbies. Keep in contact with your friends and family. Have a go at revising with someone else over Skype or Facetime.
Tea and Empathy is a lovely support network, and the BMA is offering free and confidential counselling services to medical students too. Medical Students’ Mental Health also signposts useful resources.
Hopefully this article has provided you with some ideas for making your revision more effective. Let us know what tutorials you would like in the future and get involved with our national question bank writing project!
Feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions.
‘Chandni is going into her final-year of medicine at Barts and the London and is currently working as an HCA in London. She is passionate about mentoring and wants to help prospective and current students.
She sits on the board at RCGP NE faculty, as a student representative. As a committee member of peer assisted learning medical education societies, she has organised and delivered many teaching events including mock OSCEs for students.’